US 3819401 A
Method of preparing a shirred elastic, flexible article by attaching to a sheet material a thin layer of flexible, plasticized vinyl chloride polymer material which is heat shrinkable in only one direction thereof, and thereafter heating the layer of vinyl chloride material to effect shrinkage thereof and shirring of the sheet material which is attached thereto.
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United States Patent [191 Masseng ale et al.
[ June 25, 1974 METHOD OF PREPARING SHIRRED,
ELASTIC, FLEXIBLE ARTICLES lnventors: John T. Massengale, West Chester;
Walter T. Koch, Havertown, both of Pa.
Assignee: FMC Corporation, Philadelphia, Pa.
Filed: Nov. 13, 1970 Appl. No.: 89,304
US. Cl 156/85, 2/224 A, 112/413, 156/73, 156/229, 156/244, 156/272, 161/76,
161/249, 161/256, 223/28, 264/342 R Int. Cl. B29c 27/20, B32b 31/26 Field of Search 156/84, 85, 229, 244, 73; 161/410, 76, 256, 249; 264/342 R; 223/28; 2/224 A;.. 1. .Z/4 1. 7/
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1/1936 Currie H. ..264/230 H1947 Hawley ,.161/76 Irons 161/76 2,703,774 3/1955 Morrison 156/84 2,737,701 3/1956 Hubbard et al .1 156/85 3,033,201 5/1962 Olsen 161/76 3,086,242 4/1963 Cook et a1. 264/95 3,264,155 8/1966 Rhee 161/76 3,416,991 12/1968 Yoshimura 156/84 3,497,415 2/1970 Adachi 161/76 3,575,755 4/1971 Cutler et al.. l. 156/85 3,639,917 2/1972 Althouse 2/D1G. 7
Primary Examiner-William D. Martin Assistant Examiner-William R. Trenor [5 7] ABSTRACT Method of preparing a shirred elastic, flexible article by attaching to a sheet material a thin layer of flexible, plasticized vinyl chloride polymer material which is heat shrinkable in only one direction thereof, and thereafter heating the layer of vinyl chloride material to effect shrinkage thereof and shirring of the sheet material which is attached thereto.
10 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures PATENIH] JUNZ 5 1974 METHOD OF PREPARING SHIRRED, ELASTIC,
. FLEXIBLE ARTICLES The present invention is directed to an improved method of preparing a shirred, elastic flexible article.
Flexible articles having shirred, elastic portions, as for example, along openings in wearing apparel, protective covers and the like, are conventionally produced by stretching a layer of rubber or other elastic material and, while being held in such stretched condition, sewing the same to a sheet material. Once attached and permitted to relax, the contracting elastic layer, which may be in the form of a strip, sheet or filament, causes the sheet material attached thereto to shirr or gather. In such conventional process, attachment of the elastic layer by sewing is slow, tedious and costly. More important, difficulties are encountered in maintaining a uniform tension on the elastic layer during its attachment to the sheet material and, also in handling of the shirred article once such elastic layer is relaxed. Accordingly, a primary object of this invention is to provide an improved method for preparing shirred, elastic, flexible articles.
Another object is the" provision of an improved method for preparing shirred, elastic articles which involves no stretching of any components of such articles during the actual assembly thereof.
Still another object is to provide an improved method for making shirred, elastic articles in which the assembly of the components thereof and the actual shirring maybe effected in independent stages which areseparated as to time and location.
A further object is to provide an improved method for preparing shirred, elastic articles in which conventional slow and costly sewing procedures are not required.
A still further object is the provision of an improved method for making shirred, elastic, flexible articles which is rapid, economical, simple, and which can be tailored to provide different degrees of article shirring.
The above and other objects of the invention are achieved by a method in which a thin layer of flexible, plasticized vinyl chloride polymer material, which is heat shrinkable in the desired direction of article shirring, is disposed in direct contact with at least one side of a flexible sheet material and attached thereto without any significant shrinkage or other distortion of such layer. Subsequently, the layer of vinyl chloride polymer material is heated to cause shrinkage thereof whereby the sheet material attached thereto is shirred.
Assembly of the layer of vinyl chloride polymer material and sheet material as described above may be achieved, as for example, by the use of adhesives, heat sealing, ultrasonic horns, or sewing. Preferably, but not necessarily, the layer of heat-shrinkable vinyl chloride polymer material and sheet material are attached to each other at only spaced locations thereof and desirably along lines or areas which are spaced from each other and extend substantially perpendicular to the direction in which such layer is capable of shrinking.
It is important in the method of the present invention that the heat-shrinkable layers which are employed be formed of vinyl chloride polymer materials. Layers of vinyl chloride polymer materials, which are often described as psuedo-crystalline, may be stretched while at an elevated temperature and, if held under tension during the cooling thereof, will retain substantially their stretched lengths, yet may be shrunk to their original lengths by heat. It is known that structures formed of materials other than vinyl chloride ploymer materials, as for example polypropylene, may be subjected to treatment as described above and that such structures will also retain their stretched lengths and are heatshrinkable.
Distinguishing the heat-shrinkable layers of vinyl chloride polymer materials from such other structures, however, is that once shrunk these layers exhibit the elasticity and recovery rate characteristics which are essential in shirred articles and which are not offered by structures formed of other materials. More particularly, a heat-shrinkable layer formed of vinyl chloride polymer materials, after initial heat shrinkage, may be repeatedly elongated to its stretched length at the temperature of the ambient atmosphere and, in each instance, returns to substantially its shrunken length when relaxed after elongation. Equally important is that such layer recovers rapidly to its shrunken length after being elongated. With these characteristics of the layer of vinyl chloride polymer material, shirred articles formed in accordance with the method of the present invention are capable of being repeatedly tensioned and relaxed without any apparent sacrifice in the shirring experienced by such article and without any significant delay in article shirring as it is relaxed from a tensioned condition.
The amount of shrinkage experienced by the layer of vinyl chloride polymer material, and thus the degree of shirring of the resulting article, may be varied within a wide range. In effect the shrinkage of the layer of vinyl chloride polymer material may be tailored to suit specific article applications, with a shrinkage of from 40 to 45 percent-being preferred in making shirred articles having elastic properties similar to those made by conventional processes using a rubber strip as a shirring means.
The flexible, heat shrinkable vinyl chloride polymer material layer employed in the method of the present invention is formed by shaping, as by extrusion, plasticized vinyl chloride polymer materials into the form of a tape, ribbon, sheet, film or tube or like structure followed by uniaxial stretching of such structure to orient the molecules thereof. The elastic and recovery rate characteristics of heat-shrinkable vinyl chloride layers formed by known dry-blend extrusion techniques are unsatisfactory and certainly do not approach those of elasticrubber layers employed in conventional shirred article manufacture. The necessary high degree of plasticization can be achieved, however, by employing vinyl chloride plastisols; that is, colloidal dispersions of vinyl polymers or copolymers in plasticizers, without the use of volatile solvents, which may be shaped and then oriented by known procedures.
Conventional vinyl polymers capable of plasticization to a flexible, extensible condition may be employed in the plastisols formulations, including such materials as polyvinyl chloride, as well as copolymers of a predominate proportion of vinyl chloride with minor proportions of vinyl acetate, vinylidene chloride or other copolymerizable materials. Suitable plasticizers for such vinyl chloride compositions are well known in the art and include, for example, dibutyl phthalate, dioctyl phthalate, didecyl phthalate, didecyl adipate, tricresyl phosphate, etc., which may be used alone or in combination with each other or in admixture with resin-type plasticizers, such as glycol adipate. The amount of plasticizers employed will depend upon the elasticity and recovery characteristics desired in the shirred article. Extenders, processing aids, stabilizers, blowing agents, pigments, colorants, etc. may also be incorporated into such plastisols if desired.
As heretofore mentioned vinyl chloride plastisols may be shaped into a desired layer by conventional procedures, as for example by extruding in a molten condition as a continuous stream, followed by rapid quenching of such stream as on a chill roll or in a bath of cool water or other liquid. The layer of vinyl chloride polymer material thus formed may be collected for subsequent processing at a later stage or, in continuous operations, may be uniaxially stretched directly after its formation. This is conveniently achieved by known techniques, as by stretching such layer of vinyl chloride polymer material longitudinally between spaced pairs of differential speed rolls; that is, with one such pair of rolls being rotated at a more rapid speed than the other of such pair of rolls. For reasons as hereafter described, the layer of vinyl chloride material is stretched to an extent greater than the elasticity desired in the finished shirred article.
During stretching, the layer of vinyl chloride polymer material is heated to within an orientation temperature range which extends from a temperature above the second order phase transition temperature of the vinyl chloride polymer material and below the temperature at which relaxation of the orientation effect, produced by stretching, occurs so rapidly that the layer retains no significant orientation once stretching is ceased. This orientation temperature range for vinyl chloride polymer materials will vary with the amount of plasticizers incorporated into such materials and will range generally from about 50 to 149C. While in its stretched condition, the layer of vinyl chloride polymer material is cooled to the temperature of the ambient atmosphere.
This stretched layer of vinyl chloride polymer material will retain substantially its stretched length and when maintained at a constant temperature well below its orientation temperature it exhibits fair dimensional stability. Prior to its use, however, the stretched layer of vinyl chloride polymer material is often exposed to varying temperatures, as during storage and transit, and thus may experience at least some premature shrinkage. Such shrinkage may be non-uniform along the layer and thus impart varying shirring properties in resulting articles, and even if uniform, may be unsuitable for use in shirred article manufacture.
Accordingly, in the method of the present invention the uniaxially oriented layer of vinyl chloride polymer material is heat set by being brought to a temperature slightly above its second order phase transition temperature, permitted a limited relaxation, and then cooled to the temperature of the ambient atmosphere. Shrinkage of the layer at this stage may range up to 35 percent or more and preferably from about percent to 30 percent. Once cooled the layer is dimensionally stable; that is, undergoes no significant shrinkage, until heated at least to the temperature employed during the heatsetting thereof.
As employed in the description and claims of the present invention, the terminology, sheet material" may consist of textile materials formed of natural or synthetic fibers which are in a woven, non-woven, knitted, or other construction, or may be in the form of films or sheets capable of withstanding the elevated temperatures to which the elastic layer is subjected to during its attachment and shrinking.
Articles formed by the method of the present invention have at least portions thereof which are shirred or gathered, as in the case of shirred openings in wearing apparel, shower caps, dish covers and the like. Included also are articles which are completely shirred to facilitate compact storage thereof. Such articles may be employed, for example, as awnings, swimming pool covers, wrapping material and etc. Thus, the layer of vinyl chloride polymer material may be in the form of a narrow strip tape or ribbon or may be a relatively wide film or web.
An elastic layer of vinyl chloride polymer material may be attached to one or opposite sides of the sheet material which is to be shirred. Any suitable means may be employed to effect such attachment, as for example, impulse heat sealing or ultrasonic apparatus, adhesives, sewing or metal fasteners. Once attached shrinkage of the layer of vinyl chloride polymer material can be accomplished by merely heating the same, as with a hot gas or liquid, to a temperature above that at which such layer was heat set. As this layer of vinyl chloride polymer material shrinks, the sheet material attached thereto, of course, assumes a shirred or gathered condition along the areas of attachment.
In the drawing,
FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic illustration of the method employed in making the layer of heat shrinkable vinyl chloride polymer material which is used in the method of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic view illustrating one stage in the manufacture of an article of wearing apparel by the method of the present invention;
FIG. 3 illustrates the article of FIG. 2 in its finished, shirred condition; and
FIG. 4 illustrates another shirred article formed by the method of the present invention.
With reference to the drawing, FIG. 1 illustrates the manufacture of a layer, and particularly a narrow tape, of uniaxially heat-shrinkable vinyl chloride polymer material for use in the method of the present invention. More specifically, a plastisol of chloride polymer material is rendered molten in a conventional screw extruder, shown in part at 15, and is discharged through a die orifice as a continuous stream 17 which is received on the periphery of the rotating chill roll 19. The peripheral surface of the roll 19 is maintained cool, as by circulating cold water therethrough, to rapidly quench the stream 17 and provide a solid flat tape 21. A pair of driven rolls 23 and 25, assisted by a stripping roll 27, effect removal of the tape 21 from the roll 19 without stretching the same, afterwhich the tape 21 may be collected and perhaps stored before further processing.
Preferably, and as illustrated, the tape 21 is uniaxially oriented by longitudinal stretching immediately after its formation. To facilitate such stretching, the nip roll 23 is provided with a rubber covering 29, while the nip roll 25 of bare metal construction. Steam or other hot fluid is circulated through the nip roll 25 to effect heating of the tape 21 to within the orientation temperature range during its contact with such roll. If necessary, additional rolls may be provided to increase the arc of contact which the tape 21 makes with the surface of the nip roll 25., I
Spaced from the rolls 23 and 25 is a like pair of driven nip rolls 31 and 33, in which the roll 31 is formed with a rubber covering 35 while the roll 33 is of bare metal construction. The nip roll 33 differs from the corresponding nip roll 25, however, in that no heated fluid is circulated therethrough. Suitable means, not shown, are provided for rotating the pair of rolls 31 and 33 at a faster speed than the rolls 23 and 25 so as to longitudinally stretch and thus uniaxially orient the heated tape 21 during its passage between such pairs of rolls.
The longitudinally stretched tape 21 is at a temperature substantially below its orientation temperature range as it issues from between the nip rolls 31 and 33 and is passed directly, by guide rolls 37 and 39 and nip rolls 4] and 43, through a heated liquid bath contained in a tank 47. The bath 45, which may be water, is heated to a temperature slightly above the second order phase transition temperature of the vinyl chloride material from which the tape 21 is fonned and the nip rolls 41 and 43 are driven at such speed as to permit a predetermined, partial shrinkage of the tape 21 during its passage through such bath. The heat shrinkable and now heat-set, tape 21 rapidly assumes the temperature of the ambient atmosphere as it leaves the bath 45 and is transported to a suitable core for winding in roll form as shown at 49.
In the practice of the method of the present invention, a length of tape 21 from the roll 49 is placed in direct contact with one or both sides of a sheet material along the area of such sheet material which is to be shirred and is attached thereto. Other than smoothing out the sheet material and/or tape 21, no tension is necessary on either of such components. The tape 21 is then heated, as by hot air, to a temperature above its heatsetting temperature to effect shrinkage thereof to substantially its length prior to its longitudinal stretching. in view of the attachment between the tape 21 and sheet material, the sheet material will, of course, shirr or be gathered along thellength of the tape as it is shrunk.
Illustrated in FIG. 2 is an application of the method of the present invention in the manufacture of a garment which includes a body 51 formed, for example, of non-woven textile materials, and having openings 53, 55 and 57. Lengths of the heat-shrinkable, heat-set tape 21 are removed from the roll 49 and, as indicated at 59,61 and 63, are placed in direct contact with the garment body, adjacent to the opening 53, 55 and 57 therein. These lengths 59, 61 and 63 are then bonded to the gannent body 51, as by an impulse heat-sealing apparatus, along lines 65 which are spaced from each other and extend substantially transverse to the direction in which such tape lengths are capable of shrinking. The attached tape lengths are then heated, as heretofore described, to shrink the same and cause the portions of the body 51 which is attached thereto to shirr or gather, as shown in FIG. 3,
The method of the present invention is adapted for making a variety of shirred articles. Shown in FIG. 4 is a drape having a fabric body 67 which has been gathered or ruffled at 69 by the method of the present invention. While the above description makes reference to a solid tape 21 of vinyl chloride polymer material, blowing agents may be incorporated into the plastisol EXAMPLE I A plastisol paste was prepared by blending in a Hobart mixer materials, as follows:
' Parts Polyvinyl chloride dispersion grade resin lOO. Dibutyl phthalate, primary plasticizer 60. Epoxy-type secondary plasticizer 5. Barium-cadmium, zinc stabilizer 3.
This plastisol paste was spread to a thickness of oneeighth inch on a glass tray and gelled by oven heating at 125C. for ten minutes. After cooling the gel was broken into a loose crumb and fed to a conventional A inch screw extruder.
Within the extrusion barrel this plasticized polyvinyl chloride composition was rendered molten and was passed through two mesh screen packs before being discharged through a 1 inch flattype die. The feed section of the extruder barrel was maintained at a temperature of 132C.- while its discharge section was kept at about l77C. The temperature of the extrusion die itself was maintained at about 205C. Some variation in the specific temperatures could be tolerated without degradation of the polyvinyl chloride composition. For example, extrusion die temperatures of from 177C to 218C. could be employed without appreciable differences in the characteristics in the resulting extruded product.
The extrudate was rapidly quenched on the surface of a 6 inch diameter chill roll, which was cooled by water at a temperature of 25C. circulated therethrough, and was collected as a continuous tape without being tensioned. r
Subsequently this unoriented, plasticized polyvinyl chloride tape was longitudinally stretched during advancement thereof between spaced pairs of nip rolls. Each pair of nip rolls included a metal roll and a cooperating rubber covered roll, with only the metal roll of the trailing of such pair of rolls being heated internally by steam. The rolls of both pairs of rolls were positively driven, with the leading pair of rolls having a speed five times greater than that of the trailing pair of rolls.
Upon leaving the leading pair of such nip rolls, the now longitudinally oriented polyvinyl chloride tape was at about the temperature of the ambient atmosphere and was heat-set by passage through a water bath heated to a temperature of 65C. A pair of nip rolls served to advance the tape through this heated bath and were driven as to permit such tape to shrink 30 percent during this heat-setting stage. After removal from this water bath, the tape assumed the temperature of the ambient atmosphere and was collected without being tensioned.
Sections of tape exhibited a shrinkage of 43 percent when immersed in boiling water and tensile properties of such sections, measured after the shrinkage thereof, were similar to those of a corresponding strip of rubber.
Another section of such heat-shrinkable, heat-set polyvinyl chloride tape was bonded at spaced intervals to a cellulosic non-woven fabric by means of a conventional impulse heat-sealing apparatus. These locations of bonding were spaced one-fourth inch from each other and extended generaly perpendicular to the direction in which the tape sections were capable of shrinking. No shrinkage or other distortion of the polyvinyl chloride tape was apparent during the bonding thereof to the non-woven fabric.
The non-woven fabric together with the attached tape was heated to 100C. causing the tape to shrink and the non-woven fabric to shirr or gather. Once at room temperature the shirred non-woven fabric was repeatedly tensioned to stretch the tape to approximately its length prior to shrinking and to remove the folds or pleats from such fabric. The fabric was permitted to relax after each tensioning thereof and during each such relaxation the tape returned to its shrunken length and again shirred the fabric attached thereto.
Another section of the above-described heatshrinkable, heat-set polyvinyl chloride tape was attached at spaced intervals thereof to a non-woven ceelulosic fabric by means of an ultrasonically activated horn placed on the fabric side of the overlying components. Still other sections of such tape were sewn onto non-woven cellulosic fabrics using a variety of stitch patterns. All such assemblies were heated as described above to effect shrinkage of the tapes and shirring of the non-woven fabrics attached thereto. The resulting shirred articles exhibitd stretch and shrink properties similar to that initially described in this example.
Set forth below is a tabulation of characteristics of a braided elastic (rubber) tape, as conventionally employed in the manufacture of shirred articles, a heatshrinkable, heat-set polyvinyl chloride tape produced as described above and employed in the method of the present invention and a heat shrinkable polyvinyl chloride tape, having 35 parts of plasticizer per 100 parts of resin, formed by conventional dry-blend techniques. These materials are designated below as Sample A, B and C, respectively.
Recovery Yield Force to Behavior (Sq. Thick- Elongate Time for 907: inch/ ness wide sample (gms) recovery after Sample pound) (mils) to 50 k to 100 7! 100% stretch A 1050 35 400 710 almost instantaneous B 1800 13 990 2130 15 seconds C 1690 14 1530 2580 5 minutes 90; recovery not achieved within 5 minutes measurement period.
EXAMPLE 11 heated to C. and C, respectively. The 1 inch flat die of such extruder was maintained at 200C. whereupon the polyvinyl chloride plastisol, rendered molten within the extruder, issued from the die as a continuous foamed stream. This extruded stream was rapidly quenched in a water bath to provide a tape having a foamed or cellular structure.
Using the procedure described in Example 1 the foamed polyvinyl chloride tape was stretched longitudinally and heat-set. The resulting heat-shrinkable. heatset tape was white in color, lighter and more pleasing to the touch than the solid heat-shrinkable tape employed in Example I and, when heated to 100C exhibited a shrinkage of 41 percent.
In a manner as described in Example 1, sections of this foamed, heat-shrinkable, polyvinyl chloride tape were attached to cellulosic non-woven fabrics, shrunk, and tested for their elastic properties which were found to be similar to those of elastic members employed in the manufacture of shirred articles.
Set forth below is a tabulation of the characteristics of a braided elastic (rubber) tape and a foamed, heatshrinkable, heat-set polyvinyl chloride tape as described above. These materials are designated below as Samples A and B, respectively.
It is to be understood that changes and variations may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.
l. A method of preparing a shirred, elastic, flexible article which is capable of rapidly assuming a relaxed condition after being tensioned including the steps of disposing in direct contact with at least one side of a flexible sheet material a thin layer of flexible, plasticized vinyl chloride polymer material which is heatshrinkable in the desired direction of article shirring, attaching the sheet material and layer of vinyl chloride polymer material together without shrinking of such layer, and thereafter heating the layer of vinyl chloride polymer material to cause shrinkage thereof and shirring of the sheet material attached thereto.
2. A method as defined in claim 1 wherein the layer of vinyl chloride polymer material is attached to the sheet material at only spaced portions thereof.
3. A method as defined in claim 2 wherein the layer of vinyl chloride polymer material and sheet material are attached together along lines spaced from each other and extending substantially perpendicular to the direction of shrinkage of the layer of vinyl chloride polymer material.
4. A method as defined in claim 1 wherein the layer of vinyl chloride polymer material is shrinkable from 30 percent to 50 percent of its length when attached to the sheet material and is substantially completely relaxed following the heating thereof.
5. A method as defined in claim 4 wherein the layer of vinyl chloride polymer material is shrinkable from 40 percent to 45 percent of its length when attached to the sheet material.
6. A method as defined in claim 1 wherein the layer of vinyl chloride polymer material is heated to a temperature of about 100C. to effect shrinkage thereof.
7. A method as defined in claim 1 wherein the layer of heat-shrinkable vinyl chloride polymer material is formed by shaping a plastisol of vinyl chloride polymer material into a web form and setting the same, uniaxially stretching the web of vinyl chloride polymer material while the web is heated to an orientation temperature between its second order phase transition temperature and below a temperature at which relaxation of the orientation effect achieved by stretching occurs so rapidly that the web retains no significant orientation once stretching is ceased, and thereafter cooling the web while it is in a stretched condition.
8. A method as defined in claim 7 further including the step of heating the stretched web of vinyl chloride polymer material to a heat-setting temperature which is less than the temperature to which the layer of vinyl chloride polymer material is to be heated subsequent to its attachment to the sheet material, permitting the web to shrink while at such heat-setting temperature and thereafter cooling the heat-set web.
9. A method as defined in claim 8 wherein the web of vinyl chloride polymer material is heat-set at about 65C.
10. A method as defined in claim 1 wherein the layer is formed of foamed, plasticized vinyl chloride polymer col. 4', line 64',
UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CORRECTION v nated n z ggi John '1. ms enqele and Walter T. Koeh Patent No.
Inventor( s) It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
after "25" insert --is--.
1e 1, 7, linej24, "ceelulosio" should read --cellulosic'- Signed and sealed this 29th day of October 197 ;a
Mc COY M. GIBSON JR. c. MARSHALL DANN Attesting Officer I 7 Commissioner of Patents FORM PO-1050 (10-69) USCOMM-DC 60376-P69 I U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE Hi9 0-8664,
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